Gary Gaddist, a New York Parks Department worker, found a wedding band in a heap of trash a week ago and returned it to its owner, Danielle Hatherley Carroll.
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Now, she is returning the favor by giving him free art classes, the New York Daily News reports.
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The two met after Carroll lost her wedding ring while tossing materials into a trash receptacle in a lower Manhattan park where she was teaching an outdoor art class. Carroll and her husband rushed back to the park in an attempt to recover the ring but found that all of the bins had been emptied.
In a final attempt to find her ring, she tucked a note in the windshield wiper of Gaddist’s truck asking if the lost ring could be recovered.
“It was like finding a needle in a haystack,” said Gaddist, who accepted the challenge and found the ring. “I would hope someone would do the same for me or anyone else.”
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Carroll moved from Australia six years ago and has been teaching roaming art classes since her arrival. Each class runs up to $139. But, because Gaddist found her wedding band, his seat behind the easel on Sunday evening in the middle of Times Square was free of charge.
Here is more from the Daily News:
“I didn’t even know they had things like painting schools,” Gaddist said with a chuckle. “It’s kind of exciting.”
The Brooklyn dad, who sat in the session with eight others, said he wasn’t intimidated by the blank canvas in front of him.
“I’m going to try to do something impressive,” he said as he began to paint a cityscape with brilliant shades of purple and pink.
With Carroll’s encouragement, Gaddist soon finished his first masterpiece.
“I see trash every day,” he said. “Some of it can be art, I guess. But this is very different from what I know.”
Gaddist — who has worked in city parks for 12 years — said he enjoys the arts as a hobby, but he doesn’t think he’ll be bumping shoulders with any Monets or Van Goghs anytime soon.